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Name: Josh Vissers Cohort: ____________

Lesson Plan
Lesson Title: Importance of Trees to the Environment Grade: 11 Date: 19 October 2017

Subject: Environmental Science Strand: B. Scientific Solutions to Contemporary Environmental Challenges Location: Lakehead
University Time: (length in minutes): 76 min

Lesson Plan Description – (one/two paragraphs with general details about what you will do and how you will do it)
The lesson will begin with a short hook activity where the students will be asked to divide themselves into small
groups (3-4). Each one will be given a large blank poster paper, and a set of markers. Either by their own knowledge or
quick google searches (they are allowed to use devices) have each group describe a different aspect about a tree.
Depending on number of students and groups, elements can include: role of carbon in a tree, role of water molecules,
role of sunlight, uses and importance of trees, life cycle of a tree. Groups will depict these through drawing/mind
map/chart/bullet points; encourage creativity. Once they have all finished, get each group to share with rest of the
class. This will lead into the topic of trees; their function, importance to the environment and connection with the
multiple climate change challenges the world faces.
After this activity, take students outside where the “Big Dendro” activity will be set up (activity instructions provided in
document, will need to be set up BEFORE class). This activity should take roughly 35 minutes, although can be
repeated if needed. Depending on class size, students will be divided into two groups or remain as one. Instruction will
be given to each group and the activity will be performed once very slowly in order for the students to grasp the
concepts. Once it is clear, the activity will begin with a 10 minute time limit. Concluding this, it will be repeated for
another 10 minute time limit with students switching roles. Short debrief of the activity before returning to the class.
Once back in the classroom, draw a small version of the large model outside and ask students to label the parts and
review the activity they just performed. Continue lesson with explaining the importance of trees to the environment
based on the roles they just played in the activity. Link this to the large environmental challenges of deforestation, soil
erosion, carbon emissions, etc. Trees play a vital role in most issues we face for climate change. Conclude with
assessment of skills

Ontario Curricular Overall Expectations (numbers from documents and details)

Demonstrate an understanding of major contemporary environmental challenges and how we
acquire knowledge about them.

For this lesson, it will be deforestation and how that link with the other major environmental challenges.

Ontario Curricular Specific Expectations (numbers from documents and details) selected & listed from the Ont. Curriculum, refined when
necessary, has verbs that are observable & measureable, has realistic number of expectations (1 to 3) have expectations that match assessment

identify some major contemporary environmental challenges (e.g., global warming, acid precipitation), and explain
their causes (e.g., deforestation, carbon and sulfur emissions) and effects (e.g., desertification, the creation of
environmental refugees, the destruction of aquatic and terrestrial habitats)

B3.2 describe how scientists use a variety of processes (e.g., environmental impact assessments, environmental scans)
to solve problems and answer questions related to the environment

Drafted by Lakehead University Orillia Faculty of Education Team-August 2013

B3.3 explain how new evidence affects scientific knowledge about the environment and leads to modifications of
theory and/or shifts in paradigms (e.g., the impact of evidence of the effects of carbon dioxide emissions on theories
of global warming)

Learning Goals Discuss with students: What will I be learning today? (clearly identify what students are expected to know and be able to do, in language
that students can readily understand)

Today I will learn…

 How much water a tree releases into the atmosphere and how it absorbs carbon dioxide
 The importance of trees for a healthy environment
 The interconnectedness of trees and other environmental challenges
Success Criteria Discuss with students: How will I know I have learned what I need to learn? (clearly identify the criteria to assess student’s learning, as well
as what evidence of learning students will provide to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and thinking, in language that students can readily understand)

I can: list the different parts of the tree and their functions
I can: explain how trees are important to the planet and a healthy environment
I can: explain the transpiration process and why I need it
Assessment – how will I know students have learned what I intended?
Achievement Chart Categories (highlight/circle the ones that apply): Knowledge and Understanding; Thinking; Communication; Application

Assessment For, As, Of Learning (Complete the chart below)

Assessment Mode: Assessment Strategy Assessment Tool

Written, Oral, Performance Specific task for students Instrument used to record data
(Write, Say, Do) e.g., turn and talk, brainstorming, mind i.e., rubric, checklist, observation sheet,
map, debate, etc. etc.

Assessment For Learning Written and Oral Chart paper drawing and Observation sheet. Ensure that
explanation at beginning of every member of the group is
class participating and contributing
Chart paper and blackboard Choose different members of
drawing at the end of class groups to contribute to the
drawing on the blackboard.
Assessment As Learning Performance and oral Performing their roles during Observation sheet, each student
the activity. Switch roles with should be able to perform their
students so that they learn not task easily after repeating it
only their specific role, but various times
everyones role and the entire
trees system.
Assessment Of Learning
Prior Learning: Prior to this lesson, students will have
* General knowledge of environmental issues and challenges as well as their causes
* A basic background in biology and understanding of plants, trees and their processes for making food and releasing

Differentiation: Content, Process, Product, Assessment/Accommodations, Modifications

Modifications can be made for materials and numbers in various ways. If tshirts are not available, they either have
students bring their own, or purchase/find strips of coloured cloth that students can wear around head/arm/body.
Any coloured fabric can work for the activity. Coloured balls can also be swapped out with different classroom items,
as long as each item represents a certain element (i.e: orange ball = nitrogen ; pencils = nitrogen) Rope can be
substituted for chalk on cement/pavement, and if a river/lake is not available, a large barrel of water or another water
source could be used.

Drafted by Lakehead University Orillia Faculty of Education Team-August 2013

Accommodations for any students with physical disabilities: activity can be done on a hill to imitate gravity, or not.
There are multiple roles which do not require students to move at all (leaves, sun, soil bacteria). Activity can be timed
to ensure it runs faster and students compete for fastest time, or it can be done slowly at any pace the students

Learning Skills/Work Habits

Highlight/circle ones that are addressed: responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative, self-regulation

Highlight/circle ones that are assessed: responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative, self-regulation

Vocabulary (for word wall and/or to develop schema)

Xylem: transports water from roots to the leaves

Pholem: transports organic compounds made during photosynthesis to where its needed in the tree
Pith: Centre of the tree which stores the nutrients and transports them throughout the tree
Carbon Sink: Something which uses more carbon dioxide than it produces.
Nitrogen: Essential for manufacturing chlorophyll in the leaves.

Resources and Materials /Technology Integration List ALL items necessary for delivery of the lesson. Include any attachments of student
worksheets used and teacher support material that will support communication of instruction. Include the use of Information Technology (ICT) in your lesson plan
where appropriate.

 13 buckets/pails/containers
 Coloured t-shirts or bandanas (black, yellow, blue, white, red, brown, green. Numbers dependent on students,
see instructions for quantities of each)
 Balls (ping pong or anything similar. Yellow, Red, Purple, Orange. Numbers dependent on students, see
instructions for quantities of each )
 Rope (8 segments of 15-20ft)
 Wooden discs (15-20)
 Large Barrell of water or a water source (tap/river/lake)
 Markers/Pencil Crayons/Crayons
 Chart paper
 Blackboard and chalk

Learning Environment (grouping; transitions; physical set up)

Classroom: Tables will be grouped together already, students instructed to sit at the seat where their name is
(arranged prior). Groups will be of 3-4 students
Outdoor activity: Preferably close to a water source, and on a hill. Modifications made if neither is available.
Instructions given in circle with both groups or single group together. Students asked to grab any colour tshirt, they
will have no context or knowledge of what each colour means. Explain roles and instructions while gathered in a circle.
Set up students at their different stations before the activity starts so they know where they are going.
Debriefing: Back into circle formation outside after activity
Classroom: Students can sit in their previous groups

Cross Curricular Links

Biology Grade 11, University Preparation.

Strand F: Plants: Anatomy, Growth and Function.

Drafted by Lakehead University Orillia Faculty of Education Team-August 2013

Overall Expectation F3. Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of vascular plants, including their structures,
internal transport systems, and their role in maintaining biodiversity.

Lesson – Delivery Format

Write the lesson description with enough detail that another teacher could replicate the lesson without a personal discussion.
What Teachers Do: What Students do:
Minds on: Motivational Hook/engagement /introduction (5-15 min)
Establish a positive learning environment, connect to prior learning, set the context for learning, pre-determine key questions to guide lesson
Time: 10 -15 (Indicate time breakdown of instructional elements)

Divide students as they come in to class, placing them in In their groups, students will draw or visually explain their
groups at the various tables set up in the classroom. At topic with the help of internet resources. This does not
each table ensure there is a piece of chart paper and a set have to be extensive and overly complicated, rather
of markers/pencil crayons. simple and are encouraged to use colors and drawings.
Each chart paper will already have written on them one Once they have finished they will inform the teacher and
of the following (depending on classroom numbers): role wait until the entire class is finished or the time is up.
of carbon in a tree, role of water molecules in a tree, role Each group of students will explain their chart paper to
of sunlight to a tree, uses and importance of trees, life the entire class and the papers will be posted in the
cycle of a tree classroom .
Ask students to visually represent their topic on their
chart paper. Encourage creativity, drawings, and using up
most of the space on the paper.
While they are doing the assignment, walk around and
ensure they know what they are doing and to answer any
Make sure they know they are allowed devices to look
things up about their topic of process
After 10 minutes (max) or when it appears they have
finished drawing/writing, get each group to individually
explain their chart paper
Introduce topic for the day, that you will be learning
about trees, how important they are to the environment
and their role in modern day climate change issues. First
of these, state that we will be learning about the function
of a tree and for that we will need to go outside.

Action: During /working on it (time given for each component, suggested 15-40 min)
Introduce new learning or extend/reinforce prior learning, provide opportunities for practice & application of learning
Time: 35-40 (Indicate time breakdown of instructional elements)

Gather all the students outside where the activity has Students will gather in the circle listening to the teacher.
been set up. (set-up diagram included in appendix 1). Each one will grab a shirt of their choice and put it on. It
Ensure that no students are playing with, or changing the does not matter which one they take.
set-up and have them organized in a large circle next to They will each be placed at the various positions
it. instructed based on the colour they have chosen. The
Before giving instructions, have students each grab a teacher will explain each colours role and what they have
coloured t-shirt and put it on. They will not know the to do once the process starts, each student should be
function of their colour yet, but this will be explained. confident with what they have to do. It is almost like a
Next, give out the following instructions to the students. relay race, once one colour does their task, the next
Based off of a group of 20 students. With low numbers, colour starts. Students should do this once slowly, then
there can be students taken out of the xylem section for again fast, and the third time they should switch with
example. With larger numbers, either more can be added another person’s shirt and ask what their new role is.
to sections or an entire new tree can be started. These

Drafted by Lakehead University Orillia Faculty of Education Team-August 2013

instructions should be reviewed before by the teacher to After the activity, the students will gather around the
ensure they are explained properly: teacher once more and ask/answer any questions.

Set students up like so (with help of diagram):

1.If possible, ensure that the ropes are laid out on a hill
(to give the sense of water moving against gravity) with
the top of the tree at the highest end and the bottom of
the tree near water
2. Pith area with two people (black t-shirt);
Sapwood/xylem areas on either side of the pith with
three people in each sapwood area (blue t-shirts);
Phloem areas on either side of the sapwood areas with
two people in each area (white t-shirt); Bark areas
outside the phloem areas with two people in each area
(red t-shirts); Leaves (2) with one person each (green t-
shirt), Sun (yellow t-shirt), Soil bacteria (brown t-shirt);
Pine borer (could be the instructor)
Begin the activity as follows:

3. The sun/air throws a yellow ball (photon) and purple

ball (CO2) to each leaf where (carbohydrates) is formed.
The sun yells out "energy giving, energy giving". The sun
has a pail of purple balls and yellow balls.
4. The two leaf people store the photons in a pail and
then relay the food (purple ball) to the phloem people
who carry the food down to the roots (small ropes) and
drop/store them in the storage bucket. As they run, they
repeatedly yell "bringing the food down"
5. Only when the food is placed in the bucket can the
people in the sapwood/xylem area put in the pail and
relay it (water/sap) up to the leaf. When water is put in
the pail, the sapwood person must repeatedly yell out
"slurping, slurping
6. While the water is going in the pail, the soil bacteria
puts an orange ball (nitrogen) into the
water pail and yells out "fuel in the tree, fuel in the tree".
Nitrogen is used to manufacture chlorophyll in leaves, cell
walls and DNA. Bacteria has a pail of orange balls.
7. Once the leaves receive the sap/water/nitrogen, the
leaves throw a/ the nitrogen into a storage pail b/ the
water into the air and c/ one red (02) ball to the air/sun.
The leaf yells out "transpiring, transpiring". The leaf has a
pail of red balls.
8. When this is done, the pith people place one wood disc
on the ground between themselves and water yell out
"stand strong, stand strong". Each time this cycle is
complete, the pith people place one wood disc on top of
another disc and yell out. (Wood discs should be cut from
dead trees. The thinner the disc, the more can be piled on
top of each other).
9. The sun/air throws in another yellow ball and the cycle
begins again.

Drafted by Lakehead University Orillia Faculty of Education Team-August 2013

10. Each player must yell out their calls each time they
are active
11. The sun/air is the manager of the process and shouts
out directions if players forget the
sequence. If the pine borer attempts to get inside to the
pith. If successful, it removes one of the wood plates
from the pile each time. The bark people try to ward off
the pine borer and repeatedly yell
“stay away, stay away”. If touched, the pine borer is
"dead" and each time has to try the other side of the
13. The process is explained and discussed slowly at first
and then practiced as many times as needed. After the
practice round the Tree has 10 minutes to get as many
wood discs placed on top of each other as possible, i.e. to
see how high the tree can grow. If the pile falls over, the
Tree has to start again. Each round after the practice,
students should switch tshirts with another student to
have a different role.

Once the activity has been repeated enough times,

(minimum 2 without the practice) have the students
gather in a circle again and have a small debrief. Ask the
following questions:
- Did you learn anything new about trees? If so what?
- Was it easier to bring the water up to the leaves? Or
food down the tree? (if activity is done on the hill)
- What role does the tree play in the natural water cycle?

Answer any questions the students have and then lead

them back to the classroom

Consolidation & Connection (Reflect and Connect) (5-15 min.)

Help students demonstrate what they have learned, provide opportunities for consolidation and reflection
Time: 15-20 (Indicate time breakdown of instructional elements)

Once back in the classroom, have students sit at the same Students will sit in their groups from before and on their
seats they were at the beginning of class. On a new sheet chart paper draw and label the activity they just did. They
of chart paper, have the students re-create the activity should use every group members input, seeing as they
done outside, with all the parts listed and the different each probably had different roles. Once time is up they
stages of the activity. As a group, they will have different will help the teacher complete the same version on the
members who had different roles and should therefore chalk board.
be able to get every step. While they are doing this, draw Once this is done, students will help to create the list on
a replica of the activity on the blackboard. After about 5 the chalkboard of the functions of trees in the
minutes (it shouldn’t take them too long and does not environment, using the knowledge from the activity.
matter if they have finished completely) Ask the entire
class to fill in the version of the activity on the
blackboard. Any member from any group can raise their
hand to answer and groups can fill in any blank spaces
they have on their chart paper version in front of them.

Drafted by Lakehead University Orillia Faculty of Education Team-August 2013

Once this is done, and students have solidified the
function of a tree in their minds, transition to the benefits
and functions of a tree to the environment as a whole.
Have the students think of the different aspects of the
activity, such as the soil, the air, the leaves, the bark, etc.
Create a list on the chalkboard and have the entire class
A list of possible answers could be:

- Clean the air (this should be said and mention the term
carbon sink)
- Take out dust and pollens
- Provide oxygen
- Lower temperature
-Provide shade and shelter from wind
- Increase atmospheric moisture
- Prevent soil erosion
- Provide food (for animals and humans)
- Provide homes for species
- Dead trees provide nutrients back to the soil
- Natural barrier for sound and light

Continue this list and explain each point as much as

needed until end of class. If there is no time for it, do it
next class. Make sure to write down the list at the end of
class to bring it up again and go into more detail.

Extension Activities/Next Steps (where will this lesson lead to next)

The next lesson that this will lead to is on deforestation, as well as the disruption in the carbon cycle. Students will not
understand the severity of the deforestation unless the know the importance of the tree first. To simply say that trees
are important to the environment and that they shouldn’t be cut down is not the enough, they must first understand
the amount of water that trees give to the atmosphere, the amount of oxygen they release and the carbon dioxide
they take in. Once students understand the immense importance of trees they will be able to better undertand the
gravity of deforestation and the imbalance in the carbon cycle.
Deforestation, or the destruction of trees which the students have learned about will cause loss of animal and plants
habitat, soil erosion, air pollution and a variety of other issues to the environment.

Personal Reflection (what went well, what would I change, what will I have to consider in my next lesson for this subject/topic)
The Lesson:

The Teacher:

Drafted by Lakehead University Orillia Faculty of Education Team-August 2013